Plutarch's Sertorius

A Historical Commentary

By C. F. Konrad

Plutarch's Sertorius

316 pp., 6.125 x 9.25

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1378-9
    Published: January 2014

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C. F. Konrad provides the first book-length commentary on Plutarch's Life of Sertorius, the work that has shaped most modern interpretations of the man and his career. Quintus Sertorius (126-73 B.C.) was a political and military leader during the period of turmoil that ended with the Roman Republic's disintegration just thirty years after his death. A major figure on the losing side in the first civil war (87-82 B.C.), he went to Spain to continue the struggle against the ruling senatorial faction with the help of Roman exiles and the native population. His military skill was much admired, but his increasingly despotic behavior, combined with failing luck in the field, eventually prompted Sertorius' assassination by his Roman staff. One of Plutarch's most austere biographies, Sertorius lacks the rich color and wealth of anecdote characteristic of his Antony or Perikles, yet it is unsurpassed in its seemingly unbounded sympathy for its subject and is the most substantial source extant on Sertorius. By analyzing Plutarch's method and purpose, Konrad develops a more critical and less eulogistic view of Sertorius' character and his actions during this period. The Greek text of Plutarch's biography is included in this book.

About the Author

C. F. Konrad is associate professor of classics at Texas A&M University.
For more information about C. F. Konrad, visit the Author Page.


"Konrad's commentary shows how much a close reading of Plutarch's text can lead to an unquestionably more correct appreciation of the man and his times. . . . The glory of the work is in the sound arguments that grace the commentary itself. "--Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Konrad's commentary is a first-rate piece of scholarship, thorough, perceptive, and up-to-date. It combines penetrating discussion of historical issues with a sensitive appreciation of Plutarch's literary technique and marks a considerable advance on anything previously available. Students both of Plutarch and of Sertorius will find this an indispensable guide."--C. B. R. Pelling, University College, Oxford

"Konrad's commentary investigates an admirably broad range of topics, including geography and topography, military tactics, textual criticism, philological cruxes, prosopography, and chronology. And his conclusions are regularly cautious and sensible."--Erich S. Gruen, University of California at Berkeley